July 15th, 2008
09:10 AM ET
10 years ago

New Yorker editor defends Obama cover


Watch New Yorker editor David Remnick defend the magazines controversial cover.

(CNN) - Amid widespread criticism over The New Yorker cover illustration that portrays Barack Obama in Muslim garb and wife Michelle Obama as a gun-toting militant, the publication's editor told CNN Monday he doesn't regret approving the use of the controversial image.

Watch: Remnick on The Situation Room

David Remnick, the longtime editor of the highly-regarded publication, said he believes the ironic intent of the illustration will be clear to most Americans.

"The idea is to attack lies and misconceptions and distortions about the Obamas, and their background and their politics. We've heard all of this nonsense about how they're supposedly insufficiently patriotic, or soft on terrorism," he said. "That somehow the fist bump is something that it's not. And we try to put all of these images in one cover, and to satirize and shine a really harsh light on something that could be incredibly damaging."

The cover - which shows the pair in the Oval Office, with an American flag burning and a picture of Osama bin Laden - has been widely criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike. On Sunday evening Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton called it "tasteless and offensive." John McCain said Monday it is "totally inappropriate."

Bernard Parks, a California city council member and supporter of Barack Obama, told CNN he is calling for a boycott of the liberal-leaning magazine.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (527 Responses)
  1. F. Colson-Sykes

    The front cover of The New Yorker magazine which depicts Sen. Obama & wife, Michelle, as terrorist & militant is offensive & of very poor taste. I don't see it conjuring positive solutions/outcomes surrounding the Obama's compaigne and is based on many ignorant individuals' behaviors and fears which exist in America, as well as, her ugly and horrid past toward people of African descent from a distorted so-called American people.

    July 14, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  2. Lo

    The cover isn't tasteless. It just may not be to your taste. There are hordes of us who approve.

    July 14, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |

    Hay Brooklyn:

    Did you see the amount of crying when it was pointed out that McWar's past (in war) didn't mean anything as far as becoming President.

    McWar cried and cried about that one.

    July 14, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  4. Lee

    I just hope the Obama supporters who are still upset about his FISA stance are NOT the same ones whining about this cover!

    The Clash of the Constitutional Rights!

    July 14, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  5. nitro

    Please make me believe that before anyone said anything and all you idiot condoning this saw the cover thats what you gathered from the cover. If you say yes I hope God deals with you real soon.

    July 14, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  6. Liz T

    Unfortunately, the people the New Yorker's satire is directed at simply don't get is and just see this cartoon as affirmation of what they have been saying all along. I have already seen it on the right wing blogs here in conservative Arizona. Obama-haters are saying they have changed their opinion of the New Yorker.

    July 14, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  7. Franky

    "If there's no possibility for satire, if you always have to look for the joke that every — absolutely everyone will get, you won't have Jon Stewart, you won't have Stephen Colbert," he said."

    First of all, NO ONE mentions their names until they say so, O.K? It is forbidden. Next time, you better make sure you don't compare you and the icons of Jon and Stephen. You better make sure they approve of it.........you know what, I demand a boycott! LOL!!!

    July 14, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  8. RealityKing

    It's just too deep for the Bob the Builder voting block to grasp as ironic..

    July 14, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  9. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    Unless the New Yorker is going to run a similar cover and story about Candidate John McCain and how the left is demonizing him, I'd say David Remnick is full of crap.

    July 14, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  10. Mauri

    If the NEW YORKER meant to harm the Obama image, they would have used this cover six months ago. To those who have a closed mind about Obama, this will be treated as a confirmation of their beliefs. But for those who had skepticism back in the early campaign days, these cartoons will inspire no more than the usual NEW YORKER "funnies."

    July 14, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  11. Ameila, NH

    Rotten fish, wrapped in exquisite wrapping paper, still stinks.

    The New Yorker got it wrong today.

    July 14, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  12. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    To spread the tastelessness equally, I think the cover suggested by Capt Smash should run on the next issue.

    July 14, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  13. California Gold

    I cancelled my subscription. Totally irresponsible.

    July 14, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. CU4HRC

    Let me get this straight:

    sexist jokes are o.k.
    playing the race card is o.k.
    FISA surveillance is o.k.
    satirical NY'er covers are NOT o.k.?


    ACLU - wherefore art thou?

    July 14, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. That's Reality

    If there's no truth to it, it shouldn't be upsetting to Obama.

    July 14, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  16. bimmer

    He is smart enough and patriotic enough to recognize that an Obama presidency is bad news foe USA and good news for Osma.

    July 14, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  17. ES NYC

    It's kind of funny seeing all the right wing nuts defend The New Yorker...

    July 14, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  18. Caycee

    The idea is to sell more magazines.

    July 14, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  19. Paula Hussein Mack

    THis editior can expalin and defend this cover all he wants. It is so much like WWII propaganda and hate satire it isn't funny. This is cruel and stupid. I hope the Obama's children don't receive any negative responses about this. This to me is racial bullying and feeding the likes of big mouth Limbaugh a loaded machine gun to pump out his hateful message. The New Yorker must be angry Hillary didn't get the nomination.. it is all too sick and too disturbing. It will sell alot of magazines and make quite a stir on the hate blogs..

    July 14, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  20. Joan

    The article may be good, but I'm not crawling through the garbage dump to read it. The cover was garbage.

    David should be ashamed of himself.

    July 14, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  21. Louis

    The editor of the New Yorker vastly overestimates the general intelligence of the American people. Just look at who has been elected to high office in this country as a barometer of the average voter's intellect.

    July 14, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  22. Pat

    I will never insult my African American or muslim friends by buying this trash. Wrong decision to print this–dead wrong.

    July 14, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  23. Vern Bartlett

    In a different version of America, David Remnick's defense might be easy to swallow and his lampooning New Yorker cover might truly be acceptable. But this is 2008 America filled with anti-intellectual white bread American garbage cultured into ignorance by right wing, ideological Republican doctrines. As it stands, David Remnick shows himself to be the fool of an insular component of the 4th estate. He is out of touch with the American character.

    July 14, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  24. Gail AL.

    The Obama's have whined about everything, He's been in the senate only a short time, he has voted 100 or more times present. that's why congress can't get anything done. we need people that will show what thay stand for on the issues.He has accomplished nothing. Only the fact that no one knows what he stands for, not even him. He stands for whatever will get him elected. the new york magazine is the same vision I have, thank God for free speech.

    July 14, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  25. California Voter

    By the way, the American political process has been full of satire from its beginning. Is this considered a problem because Obama is black?

    July 14, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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